Community Volunteer Day–23 March 2014
Today we held an open day for friends and members of the community to come out to CUE Haven and help out with potting up in the nursery and to work on the wetlands boardwalk track.
We had a leisurely morning tea as people arrived and got to work just before ten. The group included Anihet, Anne, Anuradha, Asmita, Bharathy, Dalu, Dheeraj, Dyer, Espe, Firusa, Hansha, Hormuz, Jith, Keaton, Kevin, Meera, Neesha, Niki, Prashant, Sai, Sarah, Shams, Sidah, Stephen, Sumit, Suraj, Tanaz, Vilashini, and Vishram.
We spent a few minutes welcoming everyone and giving them an overview of the work to be done and also gave a safety briefing.
The nursery work involved transplanting seedlings into larger pots. The potting up work is very important as the seedlings outgrow their pots and can become root bound which will impede further growth or even kill the plant. Anne, Niki, Sarah and Shams volunteered for the task and Anuradha joined them in their efforts for part of the day.
Together they transplanted 400 pidgeonwood and totara seedlings which will be planted in the ground next year. Thanks!
The rest of the group decided to work on the wetlands boardwalk. The work involved building boardwalk support frames, levelling the ground and securing the frames in place and lastly, nailing wire mesh to the finished portions of the boardwalk so that it won’t be slippery when wet. Kevin, who has worked on the boardwalk since we started the project, worked on finishing off corners.
Before we got to work, we loaded up the ute with the tools, equipment and timber so we could carry it up to the start of the track.
We then went up to the track, but before we unloaded the truck we took a walk through the finished and unfinished sections of the track. This gave the team an idea of the scope of the boardwalk project and gave them a chance to see the work already done and to get an understanding of what work they would be doing.
The team then unloaded the truck and carried the materials down to the work area.
As there were several different tasks that needed to be done, the group broke into three teams, but people moved between teams so they had a chance to do different tasks.
One team assembled five two metre by one metre boardwalk frames. This was an amazing accomplishment because building the frames involves nailing heavy boards together to create the box frame. Shifting the boards around, holding them in place and then pounding in heavy nails is a real challenge, especially when the ground is uneven.
In spite of these challenges, the group did a great job coming up with an effective system to build the frames. They also achieved a major milestone because they built the last of the five frames we needed for the boardwalk track.
As the frames were completed, they were brought down to the track area and laid in place.
The frames are now ready to be fixed in place by future teams. It was hard work and everyone deserved a break.
The other task was equally challenging. The surface of the boardwalk needs to be even and level, but the ground where we are installing it is anything but! Once the frames are finished they are laid in place and then the ground and the layout have to be studied to determine the best way for the frame to be levelled. It can be a tedious and frustrating job because sometimes correcting one corner makes another corner crooked.
In spite of the challenges, the team did a great job levelling the ground and securing four frames in place. Future teams will finish them off with the top surface planking.
Another job involved stapling wire mesh to the finished parts of the track. Because the boardwalk will be used year round there are times when it may be wet and slippery. The wire mesh will ensure that future users have secure footing.
This was another task that might look easy at first but has hidden complications. First, the wire mesh rolls have to be unrolled and measured against the actual contours of the track. When the track bends, it is necessary to trim the mesh and fill in any gaps.
The team made good progress and finished off installing mesh over 65 metres of track.
When the track curves, the frames must be laid at an angle which creates a wedge-shaped gap. Kevin cut out specially made boards to fill in the gaps between several boardwalk sections and create a nice flow.
After a morning of hard work the team broke for a late lunch and spent some time socialising.
Espe, Firusa, Hormuz, Kevin and Tanaz stayed on after lunch to continue working on the track and Anne, Niki, Sarah and Shams also continued working in the nursery until late in the afternoon.
The other volunteers had to leave after lunch but have volunteered to come back to help finish off the boardwalk 🙂 !
It was a very successful day and we are thrilled with all that the group accomplished.
Our heartfelt thanks to everyone for giving up their Sunday and coming out to help.. You were a fantastic group to work with. Thanks to all your efforts, the end of the wetlands boardwalk project is in sight and the nursery is now ready for winter.
A special thank you to Keaton for enlisting the help of several of his friends and a big thank you to Kevin for helping out again and giving us the benefit of his skills and expertise.
We look forward to seeing you all again to try out the finished track and see the progress of the project. Thanks again!